Mushroom growing’s become a $1.2 billion industry in America these days.
And we’re not surprised in the slightest!
After all, few things in life (at least as far as we’re concerned) are as fascinating as fungi. Growing mushrooms at home enables you to learn more about them, taste delicious new varieties, and save money on shop-bought mushrooms in the process.
It’s no wonder that more and more of us are taking fungiculture up as a hobby.
However, teaching yourself how to do it can be a challenge. With lots of new terms and processes to learn and understand, there’s all sorts of room for error. Worse still, even the slightest mix-up can spell trouble for your fledgling fungi.
Want to escape that eventuality and better your chances of mushroom-making success? Let us help! Keep reading to learn about 7 common mistakes to avoid when growing your own mushrooms.
1. Failing to Create a Sterile Environment
Cleanliness is key when you’re growing your own mushrooms.
Everything from your work surfaces and tools to your hands and clothes must be as clean as possible throughout the process! Why?
Because it’s all too easy for your fungi to get contaminated by harmful microorganisms. Those pesky pests compete with mushrooms for resources, preventing them from getting all of the nutrients they need to grow. Your crop suffers as a result.
Make sure you wear sterile gloves, clean clothes, and a facemask to stop the accidental transmission of germs. Sterilize your mushrooms substrate properly (pressure cookers work best) and use an alcohol spray to disinfect work surfaces and equipment before you begin any procedures.
2. Choosing Not to Invest in Quality Equipment
Novice mushroom growers are often cautious about overspending on their new hobby. And it’s entirely understandable!
After all, they’ve never done it before. The last thing they want is to invest lots of cash in the practice, only to find they don’t actually enjoy it.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying the benefits of having higher-quality equipment. More expensive gear will deliver superior results every time. Investing more cash upfront will lead to higher yields, more fun, and less frustration throughout the learning process.
3. Rushing the Process
Many newbies to mushroom cultivation end up rushing the process.
After all, they’re excited about the end product and want to enjoy the fungal fruits of their labor as soon as possible. The result?
Consciously or otherwise, they end up cutting corners along the way.
For example, they may fail to sterilize their mushroom growing equipment thoroughly enough beforehand, begin the mushroom fruiting phase before the substrate’s ready, or forget to purchase a crucial piece of equipment that scuppers their plans before they’ve even started.
Always remember that learning anything new takes time! A certain amount of trial and error is to be expected as well. Thankfully, taking a patient approach to fungiculture should help you steer clear of basic problems that often arise with rushing.
4. Running Before You Can Walk
Rushing the process of growing mushrooms causes problems in a host of different ways.
But so does rushing your personal growth and progress in the field!
Now, one of the joys of mushroom cultivation is trying new things out. It’s about experimenting with different supplements, steps, and scenarios to bolster your learning, hone your technique, and figure out what delivers the best results.
However, you should only start doing that when you’ve got the basics covered. Experimentation is always more fruitful when you’ve become proficient at the general process. Rush too early into it and you’re sure to end up frustrated.
5. Treating All Mushrooms Equally
The world is home to over 50,000 species of mushrooms.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of fungi for you to try and grow! Want to know the trick to getting the best results possible each time? Treating each mushroom differently and giving each strain the care, attention, and conditions it needs to grow.
It’s just like baking.
You’d never try to make two different cakes using the same ingredients, processes, and cooking instructions. They’re different! You have to treat them accordingly, following their unique recipe in order to end up with two delicious outcomes.
The same goes for fungicultivation.
Never assume that the processes that worked for one type of mushroom will be as effective for new strains. Learn about the specific conditions it needs and do your best to provide them.
6. Creating the Wrong Environment
As we just noted, each mushroom has specific environmental needs that must be met in order for them to grow properly. The amount of time, lighting, moisture, and air they get all impacts their capacity to propagate as they should.
Sadly, it’s all too easy (especially as a newbie) to get the ratios wrong.
For example, you might not provide enough space for mushrooms or sufficient light and airflow for them to develop. Among other issues, this can lead to fungal deformities occurring.
The trick to success here comes down to research and awareness. Ignorance really is a recipe for disaster in this business! Do your best to educate yourself on the precise conditions that your chosen strain of mushroom needs to flourish and set about putting them into practice.
7. Failing to Track Your Progress
Staying organized is another helpful way to see progress in your mushroom making. Try to keep a written record of what you’ve done and when, as well as the results that came thereafter.
You can then track what works well, understand where you made mistakes, and learn from them for next time. Over time, you’ll hone your technique and come to master the process.
Avoid These Mistakes When Growing Mushrooms at Home
Growing your own mushrooms is surprisingly big business in America.
However, the benefits of mushrooms don’t stop at money. There are all kinds of advantages to taking up fungiculture. It’s good fun, you learn something new, and you end up with a delicious (and nutritious) end product as a result.
First, though, you’ve got to learn how to grow mushrooms properly. Hopefully, this post will help in that regard! Are you interested in growing mushrooms at home?
Click here to see the different mushroom growing kits we have available right now.